Fire tests were widely used from 16th to the early 20th century to determine the quality of the various flammable and combustible liquids. These methods are applied to assess the quality and safety of petroleum. They are classified into 5 types: thin layer, volumetric, crucible, drip, and lamp. The thin layer method includes the following steps: the sample oil (kerosene) is poured onto the surface of warm water, and then into the tray of external ignition source. The principles of this method have been implemented in devices of H.M. Hartshorn, C. Ettele, A.E. Gilmore, H.J. Smith — W. Jones, E. Parrish, А. Casartelli, J. Biel, and Т.Т. Kuckla.
The volumetric method involves the use of comparable amounts of hot water and kerosene. These are shaken in a flask or other receptacle, and then the container is brought to the throat of pilot flame. The idea of this method is realized in testers of V. Meyer, R. Haass and Abelianz, which served as prototypes of modern devices for determining the temperature limit of flammability. In the crucible method heating of a cup, or a flask, or a test tube is carried on a water, or air or sand bath, followed by exposure to flame. The development of this method caused emergence of a wide range of open, semi-closed, and vapor types of testers in the second half of 19th and early 20th century, of which the devices of only F. Abel, F. Abel — B. Pensky, O. Brenken, А. Luchaire, J. Marcusson, B. Pensky — A. Martens, C. Tag, J. Treumann, and American city Cleveland are still used.
The drip method involves adding a few drops of a combustible liquid to the heated surface of the steel plate. Currently the drip method is used to determine the self-ignition temperature of flammable liquids, and is described in GOST 12.1.044—2018, GOST 30852.5—2002, GOST R IEC 60079-20-1—2011, ASTM E659—2019, EN 14522 and IEC 60079-20-1—2010. The idea of using a kerosene lamp as a scientific instrument is applied in the lamp method. There is no record of significant achievements in the field, but the processes in a petroleum lamp are modelled in S. Mann and A. Gawalovski devices. Thus, the primitive fire tests for quality control methods of liquids have laid the basis for the development of modern instruments for determining the flash and fire point, self-ignition temperature, and temperature limits of flammability.
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